Back to School AMA: What PC Should You Get?

With school starting soon, both for college students and in many public schools, it's time to start thinking about your tech. Whether you're a parent buying your 6th grader their first computer or an incoming freshmen headed to university, you need to find the right PC and accessories. 

But just what should you buy? Should freshmen build your own custom desktop for the dorm or grab a lightweight laptop to bring to class? Should parents go for a low-cost Chromebook or get their teenagers a more full-fledged Windows or Mac-based computer?

The answer to all these questions is: it depends on your needs and budget. To help you make the right back-to-school tech decisions, Tom's Hardware Editor-in-Chief will be staffing the forums,  answering your questions. 

Just comment in the thread below and ask us anything you want about student PCs, helpful peripherals and whatever else you want to know. Our AMA starts now and will run until August 8th. We hope to see you there!

10 comments
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  • apiltch
    I'll be here answering your questions for the next 24 hours. We can talk about laptops vs desktops for school, what type of PC you need and what peripherals you need.
  • TheDaveGuy
    Looking for advice on a laptop for a high school freshman, planned or desired uses include:

    Basic word processing, most likely google docs or microsoft word
    Light to moderate art / graphic design

    Also suggestion for a budding artist to explore working with digital media. I have started looking at graphics tablets, but not sure what would be a good starting one.

    Thank you!
  • apiltch
    So, if you're planning to do any kind of graphic design or even light photo editing, do not get a chromebook. Chromebooks are popular with schools, because they are cheap and durable, but they are limited.

    So, if you can spend at least $800, I recommend a lightweight Ultrabook such as the Asus Zenbook, HP Envy 13t or Dell XPS 13. If you want a 2-in-1 (better for sketching), consider the HP Spectre x360.